What Causes Bad Breath & How Can You Get Rid of It?

July 3, 2017

Bad breath is not a desired trait for anyone, but it is the reality for more than 80 million Americans who suffer from chronic mouth odor, or halitosis.

As with any problem, the first step to resolving it is to find out whether you have a problem. Even though that seems simple, smelling your own breath is not as straightforward as it may seem.

How to Check for Bad Breath

Fortunately, it isn’t hard to check your breath for freshness. You’ll need to find a spoon, and then follow these steps:

  1. Cover the back of the spoon with saliva.
  2. Allow it to dry.
  3. Sniff the spoon. That is what your breath smells like.

If you aren’t satisfied with the results of your spoon check, don’t worry. We’ve all been guilty of having breath that’s less than fresh. Keep reading to learn more insights about how to eliminate bad breath.

Factors That Lead to Bad Breath

The most effective way to eliminate bad breath isn’t to suck on breath mints or chew gum. These remedies will only mask the smell. To solve your halitosis issues once and for all, go straight to the source.

Start by evaluating these causes that can lead to bad breath:

  1. Poor Oral Hygiene: The most important factor for having a healthy smile, and for eliminating bad breath, is to keep your oral hygiene up to snuff. This means brushing twice a day and flossing daily to eliminate food particles on your teeth that help feed odor-causing bacteria.
  2. Dry Mouth: One of saliva’s key functions is to rinse dead skin cells and bacteria from your mouth. If you don’t produce enough saliva, this will lead to smelly buildup. To keep your mouth moist, drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  3. Gum Disease: The buildup of plaque associated with gum disease and the resulting toxins can cause a foul odor.
  4. Poorly Fitting Dentures and Other Appliances:Wearing dentures, retainers, or other appliances that don’t fit properly may leave gaps that allow bacteria to settle in. See your dentist regularly to make sure these fit. Also be sure to regularly clean any dental appliances!
  5. Skipping Your Dental Check-Ups: Visiting the dentist every 6 months is another crucial factor in your teeth and gum health, and for preventing bad breath.
  6. Smoking: When you smoke cigarettes, particles of smoke linger in your lungs. These exit through your mouth, resulting in a stale smell on your breath. Cigarette smoke also contains more than 60 aromatic hydrocarbons, which are chemicals that give off a foul odor.
  7. Other Health Problems: Halitosis is a symptom for several medical issues such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, and liver and kidney problems.

Why is “Garlic Breath” so Resilient?

Foods that smell especially pungent, like garlic and onions, are an exception to most rules about bad breath. No matter how thoroughly you clean your teeth, the smell will linger until the food is completely digested. This is because as the food breaks down in your stomach, it gives off a smell that can only be released out of your mouth.

Call Your Dentist if the Problem Persists

If you’ve exhausted all the possible causes of your bad breath and it isn’t improving, contact your dentist. If you truly have a more chronic issue, your dentist will be able to help. If you’re in the Aurora area and want some advice, contact us!